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Services for AISSR members

On this page:

We offer courses, specialized advice, and provide information about numerous research methods (on this website) as well as facilities such as labs and super computers (below).

Methods courses

Flying Circus

Once a year, usually around March, we offer a series of half-a-day crash courses in various methods such as Atlas.ti, GIS, Social Network Analysis and various sorts of statistics. We first ask for requests from the PhD's and Postdocs, of which there should be minimally four, and try to fulfill them or suggest external courses. There are also incidental methods days on themes such as big data, causality and ethnography.


AISSR organises two methods courses for AISSR PhD students in cooperation with GSSS: The Methodology Course Ethnographic Research and the Methodology Course Research Design. The emphasis in the first course is on ethnographic and qualitative PhD projects, which mainly rely on participant observation, in-depth interviewing and detailed case studies. The objective of the second course is to help AISSR students of all disciplines to develop the research design and methodology for their own research project.

External courses

Extensive courses you may pick for free from the Research Master programs at the social sciences, as well as at psychology (e.g. programming in R, scientific writing, meta analysis), econometrics (e.g. game theory, non-linear dynamics), and at the world famous Tinbergen institute. The Tinbergen courses have to be paid for, but Summer Schools at Ann Arbor (theoretical), Essex (practical) or ECPR are much more expensive.


For specialized advice, such as commenting a research proposal, you can ask us. For some questions we'll defer you to our colleagues, and our method-specific webpages indicate who they might be.


AISSR members can get access to numerous non-public data, e.g. EU.SILC, and a secured server for CBS data. One of our future projects is to list data collected by AISSR members, and, while taking privacy seriously, to make public as much as possible.


GIS lab

We have a GIS lab in the L building (2.07) that can be used for free; there are 8 computers plus 4 more powerful ones, all equipped with GIS software.

Psychology Lab

For social experiments you can use labs at Psychology (up to 8 subjects), Ascor (up to 10) or CREED (up to 60, see below). Autumn has the shortest waiting lists. For the psychology and Ascor labs, detailed information is available at their website.

Obviously there are rules and procedures for well-treating subjects and equipment, and every research plan must pass the ethical committee, if only for the insurance. Subjects sit in separate small rooms, but there is one larger room where either cubicles can be put or face-to-face contact allowed. Using those labs costs about 40 to 100 euro for half a day, and a rough indication for a subject's fee is about 15 euro per hour. Note that you also have to pay a show-up fee to people who arrive in time but don't participate, e.g. because others don't show up so your group is incomplete.  Bring piles of coins to pay the subjects at the end. If you don't program the interface yourself, a programmer will cost you about 50 euro per hour, which boils down to, say, 2500 euro for an experiment, to give an idea. If you need psychology's infrastructure to search for subjects, additional expenses are involved.

There is a MRI scanner that costs 3 to 5 euro per minute per subject, which includes expert help; the contact person is Steven Scholte. However, many research questions are better and much cheaper researched by heart rate measurement, skin conductance, EEG, eye-tracker or virtual reality goggles, which are also available at the lab. For all those, bring your own subjects to the lab.


At behavioral economics there is the CREED lab consisting of two rooms that, when used together, can harbour 60 people at the same time, who sit in cubicles. Using one of those rooms costs 400 euro for half a day. The economists also have a website for the recruitment of subjects; for payment details, see above. A key difference with psychology, reflected in the ethical rules for the CREED lab, is that subjects may only be given honest information by the researchers, whereas in psychological experiments it’s in principle allowed to provide false information.

Super Computers

We have a fast computer at the AISSR. For more computational oomph, you can use the machines at Surf Sara for free. Those monsters run batch jobs on Linux, so if you use R or Python (which you should anyway), this won't cause you any trouble: you can put all your commands together in a script and go ahead.

To start out, you'll first have to ask for an account, and for PhD's and Postdocs this request should be supported by someone with tenure. At the Surfsara webpage you'll find detailed examples on how to submit your script and data, at the menu > support > user information > the lisa system. When working through the tutorial, you’ll learn the basics of Linux on the fly, which is a worthwhile investment far beyond supercomputing. If your own computer runs on Windows, you'll have to install WinSCP or PuTTY to transmit your files to Linux; type “lisa” and then login.  You also have to indicate how much computer power you need (which depends on your ability to program for multiple nodes in parallel), and a rough estimate of the maximum time it will take (on a PC, indicative for one node). Notice that it may take several days up to a week before your job gets done, and, apart from a faint roar from the Watergraafsmeer, you won't hear anything about it; results are written on a local output file. For truly colossal jobs, you'll need a budget from, and a computer at, NWO. For data mining, Hadoop (in Java) is available at Surfsara. Large data can be stored at a cost. There is a 7-day course every now and then.